Saloon, bank, bath house and livery stables on Mane Street, Pioneertown, CA
|Time zone||UTC−08:00 (Pacific (PST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−07:00 (PDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||247574|
Pioneertown, California, is an unincorporated community of the Morongo Basin region of San Bernardino's High Desert. The historical town was originally incorporated in 1946 and fell into the hands of San Bernardino County in the late 1960s. The winding, 4-mile (6.4 km) drive northwest to Pioneertown from Yucca Valley has been designated a California Scenic Drive and the area is now surrounded by privately and federally protected lands. Homes and businesses in Pioneertown have a Yucca Valley address.
Actor Dick Curtis started up the town in 1946 as an 1880s themed live-in Old West living, breathing motion-picture set. The town was designed to provide a place for production companies to enjoy while also using their businesses and homes in movies. Hundreds of Westerns and early television shows were filmed in Pioneertown, including The Cisco Kid and Edgar Buchanan's Judge Roy Bean.
Dick Curtis, Roy Rogers and Russell Hayden were some of the original developers and investors, and Gene Autry filmed every episode of his show at the six-lane Pioneer Bowl bowling alley. The Pioneer Bowl's construction was credited to Tommy Thompson in 1947 and Rogers himself rolled out the first ball in 1949. School-age children were hired as pinsetters until the installation of automatic pinsetting equipment in the 1950s. According to the Morongo Basin Historical Society, the bowling alley is one of the oldest in continuous use in California still using the first Brunswick pinsetters and is open seasonally during the summer.
In July 2006, parts of Pioneertown were burned in the Sawtooth Complex fire, which also burned into Yucca Valley and Morongo Valley. Firefighters managed to save the historic movie-set buildings, but much of the surrounding desert habitat was damaged. Among the buildings saved was Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace, a longtime local club and landmark built within the town's original and only gas station, which counts among its regular patrons notable musicians, including Eric Burdon and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame.
Mane Street in downtown Pioneertown is open to the public.
As Pioneertown is a working movie set, commercial production & photography is allowed by permit only.
Media related to Pioneertown, California at Wikimedia Commons
- Rafton, Louise. “Pioneertown”, Westways Magazine, March/April 2005
- Stringfellow, Kim. mojaveproject.org: "That High Desert Sound"
- "Pioneertown Is Ersatz; Its Compassion Is Real". www.latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Missing or empty
- "Hi-Desert Star – Yucca Valley, CA: Sawtooth Complex Fire". Hidesertstar.com. Retrieved 2008-10-14. Cite journal requires
- "Pioneertown, USA: The Definitive History of Pioneertown, CA. Where the Old West Lives Again!" 2018, 308 pages via Amazon.com
- Pioneertown Sun – Pioneertown historical research, photo and video archive website
- List of productions shot in Pioneertown from IMDb[dead link]
- Pioneertown, California at Curlie